I figured out Mitch Kupchak’s plan to rebuild the Lakers.
At first, I thought he had sunk into depression and started just signing guys. If he recognized your name, you got a fat contract.
Then, optimistically, I concluded that he was secretly tanking. He needed to convince Kobe that he was actually trying, so he grabbed recognizable names at higher-than-necessary prices. He collected shiny puzzle pieces, but from different puzzles. There is no way to fit them together. The Lakers 1st round pick is top-5 protected. This Frankenstein roster could easily contend for the 4-5 spot. Remember, the Warriors tanked into the 7th spot 3 years ago, collecting Harrison Barnes. And the Warriors didn’t start tanking until halfway through the season. Imagine what this Lakers roster could do with a full season!
Finally, today, I struck on a third option. Mitch is trolling for assets. The trading desk is open for business!
Jordan Hill? As Bill Simmons said of Celtic forward Kris Humphries last year, every team needs a $9MM expiring contract as trade filler for the big targets, If the Lakers somehow get into the Kevin Love action, know that Hill will be salary ballast.
Steve Nash? He shoots the lights out. If he demonstrates a minimum of health, a contending team might ask for him near the deadline.
Swaggy P? Small market teams like the Bucks and Wolves really need affordable, service-able guys on longer contracts. I mean, given a choice (for equivalent money), Nick Young never goes to those places. So if you are dumping Sanders or Ilyasova, or parting with Kevin Love, those are the kinds of deals you want coming back. But really, anyone would be happy to take that deal. Super trade-able.
Jeremy Lin? Okay, the Lakers did that for the accompanying 1st-round pick.
Ed Davis? Er… When I saw “Lakers sign Davis” on twitter, I thought, “Baron? Cool!” Alas…
Carlos Boozer? Lakers are stuck with him all year. So… Maybe Secret Tanking is the plan after all?
The true Lakers plan is (and always has been): 1) acquire a marquee player; 2) use him as bait to sign one or two more marquee players. The Lakers are profoundly uninterested in competing for anything before step 1 is accomplished. I mean, if it happens, great. But meanwhile, Mitch wants to collect picks (and maybe prospects) until he can either trade for, or sign the marquee guy.
If guys keep peeling off the Laker’s roster this year, you know Mitch’s plan is working,